Winter is one of the best times of the year to explore Yellowstone National Park- especially as a wildlife photographer/ enthusiast. Crowd numbers are very low and most of the wildlife is seeking shelter in the lower elevation valleys. This is a prime time of year to witness bison breaking through snow drifts, wolves feeding on carcasses, or the iconic coyote or fox pouncing on a mouse under the snow. Only the northeastern corner of the Park is open to road traffic in the winter. This road to Cooke City traverses the Lamar Valley, one of the prime spotting area for wolves and wildlife in the Park. The Southeast Geyser Basin area is only open to over-snow travel- snowmobile (guided only), snowcoach, or by your own two feet. The geothermal colors against a white backdrop are truly a sight to behold.
Recommended 6-day, 7-night itinerary:
Day 1. Arrive Bozeman, a representative from NWE will meet you at the airport and escort you to the office in your rental Subaru Outback. At the office, we will go over map details, off-the-beaten path photo opportunities, and last minute changes to itinerary due to weather conditions. Overnight at Chico Hot Springs, just outside of Yellowstone National Park in the Paradise Valley.
Day 2 - 3. Explore the Lamar Valley and surrounding areas, overnighting at Chico or in Gardiner.
Day 4. After a morning of shooting, head back towards Bozeman and then down to West Yellowstone. This is a very beautiful drive along the Gallatin River Canyon and offers photo opportunities for scenic, elk, big horn sheep, and moose. Overnight in West Yellowstone.
Day 5. Snowcoach into the Yellowstone Geyser Basin. Overnight West Yellowstone.
Day 6. Return to Bozeman via Quake Lake, Henrys Lake, Ennis, and the Madison Valley. Stop for a soak in Norris Hot Springs, overnight in Bozeman.
Day 7. Depart.
Package price $550 includes rental vehicle and concierge services. Accommodations range from $500 - $900 based on double occupancy. West Yellowstone guided snowcoach tours, from $100 per person. Total price vehicle, tour, and accommodation from $625 per person.